This occurred amid large 2020 protests against excessive police brutality.
After federal prosecutors agreed last month not to seek death penalty, Steven Carrillo (33), changed his plea to guilty to the federal murder charge in David Patrick Underwood's murder and the attempted murder of Underwood’s colleague.
They were standing in front of an Oakland federal building as hundreds marched down the streets, when they were gunned down.
Carrillo, who was wearing an orange jumpsuit, read from a plea deal. He admitted to posting messages to Facebook asking people if they were down to boog the day before the shooting and that he was willing to act, not just talk. Carrillo also admitted to firing 19 rounds using a homemade AR-15 rifle while riding in a white van driven by a man whom he had connected online.
Carrillo stated, "I joined the anti-government movement" and wanted to commit violent acts against federal law enforcement officers.
On Jan. 31, the prosecution stated they would not seek death penalty. However, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers stated Friday that she isn't convinced she will accept the plea deal between prosecutors and defense attorneys calling for a 41 year sentence.
She stated that she could not accept a plea unless there were sufficient independent facts to support it.
Carillo will be sentenced June 3. However, Gonzalez Rogers advised that she could refuse the plea agreement if she does not feel the defense and prosecution have done enough to justify the sentence.
Gonzalez Rogers stated that Carillo could face trial and that his confessions to the court could be used against Carillo.
Prosecutors claim that Carrillo, a Santa Cruz resident, was linked to the "boogaloo” movement, which is a loose group of gun enthusiasts and militia-style extremists. Experts say the group was inspired by alt-right culture and the belief in a coming U.S. Civil War.
Carrillo was accused of shooting Underwood in the head after he sprayed a guard house he was staying in with bullets.
Angela Underwood Jacobs was Underwood's sister and called Carillo "domestic terrorist" at Friday's hearing.
She said, "Cowards like yourself fear true bravery."
Prosecutors claimed that Robert Alvin Justus Jr. of Millbrae drove the van. In the case, he faces federal murder and attempted murder charges.
They are accused of driving to Oakland, and then taking advantage of the distraction of people marching through downtown Minneapolis to protest George Floyd's murder by a Minneapolis police officer.
Carrillo was captured a week following the Oakland shooting. He allegedly attacked Santa Cruz County sheriff's deputies responding to a call about a van that contained bomb-making and firearm materials. Sgt. According to court records and authorities, Damon Gutzwiller (38) was killed, and other law enforcement officers were also injured.
Santa Cruz Prosecutors charged Carrillo in a series of felonies. These included murder and attempted murder in connection with that murder.
Carrillo pleaded guilty to Gutzwiller’s murder.